This is a question that arises frequently from potential foster carers; hopefully the blog below will help you understand the need for foster children and your own children to have separate bedrooms.
Most young people placed into the home of foster carers have been subjected to neglect, a lack of healthy, nurturing love and often abuse and cruelty at the hands of their parents or other family members. Children will often develop behaviours to help them cope, even survive situations from which, to them, there is no apparent escape. Entering into care will add to their previous trauma and anxiety, even feeling they have been abandoned by their biological family.
It’s important foster children have their own room, as whilst they are dealing with early life pain, trauma and suffering, their own room allows them to perhaps have a safe place to hide, have a cry, or even destroy something, rather than having to ‘go out’ every time they feel those feelings coming to the surface. From the privacy of their room, they have time to just “be” for a while in their own space and may later even emerge feeling better, the same, or worse, but once in a while they might even come to talk about something, or just for a hug! A foster child who has no personal space and has to retreat to somewhere outside of the home effectively takes the loving support being offered by the foster carer right out of the picture.
There are two ways to look upon a paternal child and a foster child sharing a room. Both children would be forced into a situation where they are sharing with a total stranger – they would be giving up their privacy, their own space, even their safety to a degree, especially if the full history of the foster child is unknown. When a foster child is scared, lonely and suffering trauma, sharing a room with a stranger risks adding to their anxiety and confusion. Your own child would also need to compromise and share their space and maybe even their possessions, to now share their music tastes in the bedroom, watching TV or having friends round. Even having to dress in the bathroom as they can no longer change in their bedroom and they may even have to dress differently for the sake of modesty and safety.
Lets also remember that children as they grow up, are naturally inquisitive and they will tend to explore if the opportunity arises. Having children in their own rooms will massively reduce risk of something untoward happening. We must also take into account the fact that children will often copy what they see and we do not want any unnecessary exposure if they are sharing bedrooms. Safeguarding is a huge part of the foster carers role and it is easier to maintain individual safety if each child residing has their own room, own space, own possessions and own privacy.